KATHMANDU, Jan 22: Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi jointly inaugurated the integrated check post (ICP) at Biratnagar through a video conference on Tuesday.
In a separate official ceremony held in Biratnagar, Indian officials formally handed over the ICP in the country to the Nepali authorities.
The ICP is expected to ease cross border trade with the country's largest trading partner and also Nepal's third country trade by providing all related services under one roof. The project was built with Indian grant assistance of Rs 2.24 billion.
The fist ICP of the country in Birgunj is in operation since 2018.
The Biratnagar ICP, which is spread over 129 bigha, has the capacity to handle 500 trucks in a day. With the ICP coming into operation, all the services like border security, customs and immigration required to facilitate cross border movements of cargo will come under single roof.
The ICP is also equipped with facilities like warehouse with cold stores, cargo building, electronic weighbridges, passenger terminal building, currency exchange service, quarantine, clearing agent, power backup and round the clock CCTV surveillance, among others.
Government officials as well as traders say that the modern ICP will not only end the hassles in the customs but also reduce the time and cost required to pass the goods across the borders.
Speaking through video conference, Prime Minister Oli said that timely completion of development projects, especially those providing direct benefit to the people, has further strengthened friendly relations between two countries.
Nepal, as a landlocked country, relies either on India or its ports for imports and the operation of ICP will make imports swift. The key trade infrastructure is expected to contribute to reduce export cost for traders. Traders say that the transformation of traditional check post into e-system is an upgradation that will make the trade process hassle-free.
This is the second mega projects supported by India that the prime ministers of two countries inaugurated in less than five months.
“The importance of better connectivity elevates when it is about Nepal and India as our relations is not limited to neighborhood,” Modi said on the occasion. “We are linked through multiple threads of language, culture, progress and much more, so good connectivity connects us opening new ways for us.”
Stating that connectivity plays the role of a catalyst for development of not only any country but of the whole region, Modi in the video conference said: “Both countries are working on cross border connectivity projects like roads, railways and transmission line.”